The Devil’s Busy Decade


I had heard of the phrase “Satanic panic” before (hey, it’s very catchy), and had some idea of what it entailed, but I thought it was worth looking into a little more. While there are many components, the phrase largely refers to a period in the 1980s when fundamentalist Christianity was on the rise, and with it came ideas of Satan and his followers having control of basically everything. Obviously Satan being Lord of the Earth is a much older concept, but here it tended to be associated specifically with children, the Devil infiltrating rock music, role-playing games, and even day care centers. I would think Satan would have better things to do, but I guess if he’s the source of all evil, that includes micromanaging. I suppose sloth is one sin in which the big guy himself does not partake.

The panic was also fueled by evangelical Christians who claimed to have gotten out of Satanic cults in which they inevitably held really high positions. Their stories not only were outlandish, but they didn’t line up with each other even though these were supposed to be worldwide organizations. There tended to be a lot about child abuse, sacrifices of humans and pets, and occult symbolism everywhere.

They also tended to mix Devil worship with Wicca, which, while it seems to be pretty open about theology, doesn’t even have a Devil as far as I know. Of course, witches worshipping the Devil is a really old idea.

According to some Christians, worshipping ANYTHING other than Yahweh and Jesus is serving Satan like how pagan gods were often treated as demons. They’ll even sometimes say other Christians and even atheists are in Satan’s employ. I doubt too many atheists believe in the Devil but not God, which would be like believing Sherlock Holmes isn’t real but Moriarty is. But this is Devil worship by proxy, while these cults allegedly directly worshipped the big red guy with the goat horns. Rock music and Dungeons & Dragons DID include some occult symbolism, but this was largely just for flavor rather than because anyone took it seriously.

If you could really learn spells from a D&D manual, there would be a lot more unexplainable phenomena going on, and fewer geeks would have been bullied.

Does this only apply to people who role-play magic-users? What if you play a barbarian? Do you just get Army recruiters?
And sword-and-sorcery has a tradition of combining actual religious and magical beliefs, often largely forgotten ones, with fiction.

As for ritual abuse, this article mentions that this was at a time when child abuse accusations were only just starting to be taken seriously and heavily publicized. In the cases where it was mixed with charges of Satanic rituals, regression therapy was used to lead patients and implant false memories. One of the most famous examples of this was when psychiatrist Lawrence Pazer wrote about the supposedly repressed memories of ritual abuse by his patient Michelle Smith, whom he later married, because doctors having romantic relationships with patients apparently isn’t itself really creepy. The book was later discredited, but not until after a lot of people had taken it as accurate.

The thing is, a lot of this is funny when taken by itself, but not so much when it’s used to harm people. I would say Satan should sue the panickers for defamation of character, but what lawyer would take his case? Well, according to hacky jokes, any of them.

This entry was posted in Christianity, Conspiracy Theories, Cults, Fundamentalism, Games, Magic, Music, Mythology, Religion, Satanism, Wicca and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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